Monday, May 04, 2009

Is It Or Isn't It The Swine Flu?

I have been following this H1N1 outbreak for the past week or so since I first posted about it and the developments have been interesting to say the least. The reactions and articles have run the gamut from, "make sure you don't look at a pig" (those seem to be slipping away and I didn't see many), to "let's remember to call this the H1N1 flu virus not swine flu". But, as of yesterday (at least this is the first I heard about it) Canadian authorities are reporting a swine herd has been showing symptoms consistent with the virus that has been making it's rounds and that they probably/may have picked up the bug from a worker on the farm who recently returned from Mexico.

You can read the full article at this link, but for the time being here are a few interesting quotes:
"But officials quickly urged caution. Swine flu regularly causes outbreaks in pigs and the pigs do not pose a food safety risk, Dr. Brian Evans, executive vice president with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, told a news conference."

"The traveler has recovered, and the estimated 200 sickened pigs are recovering as well, officials said. No pigs have died, and officials said they don't think the flu has spread beyond the farm.
Normally, detecting influenza in pigs would not generate a response from food safety officials, but the current circumstances are different with the international flu outbreak, Evans said.
"The chance that these pigs could transfer virus to a person is remote," he said, adding that he would have no issue eating pork from the infected pigs."

"According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies have shown that swine flu is common throughout pig populations worldwide, with 25 percent of animals showing antibody evidence of infection."
On a totally related side note ... you may have noticed that hog prices have made a decline in the days after the news of the flu started making the rounds.

1 comment:

Walter Jeffries said...

I interviewed some local pigs about the flu and they were quite concerned. They said, and I quote, "There need to be severe travel restrictions and quarantines on these humans because they are running all over the countryside and even around the world spreading this possibly deadly disease."

Dr. Archimedes, a leading authority on humans, went on to say, "As a boar I am very concerned that humans might spread this disease to pigs. It could be disastrous if our piglets came down with this new human flu. While it used to be that disease was contained in the human population it has now been shown that irresponsible domestic humans can spread it to pig people. We need to take drastic measures."

I asked if Dr. Archimedes if he was suggesting depopulation and he assured me that things were not that far along yet, that nobody was saying we should depopulate the humans but quarantine was definitely in order. He did mention that if depopulation became necessary there would be some form of compensation and that has already been budgeted.

The general consensus was to avoid kissing humans, wash your feet and stay out of large gatherings of humans.

This is reporter Walter J. signing off from WSMF-TV.

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